Did Jesus, the Divine Lord of Ireland, Exist?

December 28, 2007 at 1:19 am 15 comments

The preamble to the Irish Constitution begins with at least two untruths: that all authority of both men and States comes from a fictional being called ‘the Most Holy Trinity’, and that the people of Ireland have obligations to somebody called ‘our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ’. Here’s a thought, as we wind down from celebrating the invented birth-date of this supposed Divine Lord of Ireland.

Surely, if Jesus did so many amazing things, somebody at the time would have written about him? Well, actually, no. The first time Jesus is mentioned outside the Bible is sixty years after he supposedly died. By then, Paul had already spread the myth of a Jesus that he himself had never met, and the first gospels may have already been written. After these sixty years of silence, there are five ‘early’ independent reports that Christians most often quote: >>>

These are as follows:

  • A discredited fourth-century attempt to insert Christian propaganda into a first-century history book.
  • A passing second-century reference to the death of Christ, which gets Pontius Pilate’s job title wrong.
  • Two uncontroversial second-century records of the existence of Christians in Rome and Asia Minor.
  • A claim, made in the ninth century, that somebody else wrote, in the third century, about somebody else writing about a solar eclipse in a lost first-century document.

Chronologically, these claims are:

  • Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, in his Jewish Antiquities of 93 ad.
  • Gaius Tacitus, a Roman historian, in his Annals of about 110 ad.
  • Pliny the Younger, a Roman Governor, in his Letters of about 110 ad.
  • Suetonius, a Roman historian, in his Lives of the Caesars of about 120 ad.
  • Thallus, a first century historian, in an allegedly lost undated document.

Taking all of these references together, the most that can be said about the life of Jesus is this.

  • During the reign of Tiberius, Pontius Pilate may have executed a criminal called Jesus. I believe that this probably happened; Jesus was a common name and the Romans executed many criminals.
  • If he existed, this Jesus was not a major figure, as nobody other than his followers wrote about him for over half a century.
  • Whether or not he existed, his name became the symbol of a religious movement that spread to at least Rome and Asia Minor.
  • There is no independent record, in all of recorded history, of any of the following: his alleged bloodline from Abraham and David, his alleged virgin birth, his parent’s alleged flight from Herod, his alleged baptism by John the Dipper, his alleged preaching to large multitudes, his alleged miracles (walking on water, reviving corpses etc), the nature of his trial or his death, or his alleged return from being dead to being alive again.

And yet our Constitution declares him to be the Divine Lord of Ireland.

Over the next few days, I will examine the above five claims in more detail.

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Entry filed under: Ireland, Religion.

Well-Known Irish Atheists The First Historical Record of Jesus

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dianarn  |  December 29, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Not only that, but the name “Jesus” does not exist in Hebrew. Jesus is synonymous with Joshua, and think of just how many people had that name. And there are a ton of “Christ” figures throughout many cultures, such as Krishna of the Hindus. Krishna, Christos, Christ, get it? I started reading the Bhagavad-Gita and I could have swore I was reading the New Testament. Maybe all of our Constitutions should say authority comes from all of these “Sons of God.”

    Reply
  • 2. guidedangel  |  December 29, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    there is only one god allah

    Reply
  • 3. Chad  |  December 30, 2007 at 1:46 am

    Wikipedia has some good stuff on this issue

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

    Reply
  • 4. Andrew  |  December 30, 2007 at 2:30 am

    The existence of a particular Jesus, or Yeshua, shouldn’t bother or concern you too much … Just as, for example, the existence of Julius Caesar shouldn’t bother you.

    As an aside – I think there’s about as much historical evidence, or less, for many of the acts of Julius Caesar as there are for the acts of Jesus: How do we know Julius Caesar said “Veni Vidi Vici” after arriving in Ancient Britain ? — Because he tells us! Sure we could doubt he said those words, but why bother?

    Your real concern should be the truth or otherwise of what Jesus and his followers claim. There are more interesting and more credible ways of arguing against those claims than denying the existence of the man.

    Reply
  • 5. paralleldivergence  |  December 30, 2007 at 6:07 am

    There’s no point trying to disprove if someone existed or not, it’s all about faith. People either choose to believe in Jesus or they don’t. Some people (usually the very young) choose to believe in Santa Claus, but eventually they grow out of it. Unfortunately more than 1/3 of the planet has not grown out of believing in Jesus the same way and it’s unbelievable that entire countries hinge their constitution on “blind faith” – because that’s the only real “evidence” you can point to.

    Reply
  • 6. Andrew  |  December 30, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    My point was — the problem is not whether you “believe in Jesus”, as if it were a problem like that of whether you “believe in Julius Caesar” or “believe in Santa” … Each of those has differing historical bases — fact is: even Santa is very likely to have existed, buddy boy : Saint Nicholas of Myra. 3rd Century CE.

    The more important problem is what you make of the claims made of the man, or what he is claimed to have said. That’s the point where you’re entitled to get uptight and argumentative. What I’m suggesting is: it is more to the point to say, “sure Jesus existed, but he didn’t die for me”, or “sure Saint Nicholas existed – but he ain’t coming down my chimney” — than to deny their existence.

    Reply
  • 7. john  |  December 30, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    And the angels said unto the shepherds…..”feck off, this is cattle country”

    Reply
  • 8. Scavenger  |  December 30, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    The UK became a great empire because of Christianity. .
    They lost it because they started denying the truth, and
    believing in fables like athiesm and false religions.

    Reply
  • 9. paralleldivergence  |  December 30, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Scavenger: Atheism is a fable? False religions? What makes Christianity right?

    Have a read of this:
    http://paralleldivergence.com/2006/11/04/which-is-stronger-manfluence-or-godfluence/

    Reply
  • 10. Crypt  |  January 12, 2008 at 2:19 am

    While disproving the historical accuracy of jesus may seem possilbe by rooting out alleged sources and discrediting them it should be of note that at his time there was a significant lack of things like layperson publishing (the blogs of today par example)
    or an effort to record history on the national scale beyond the basics of large scale wars and governmental activity.

    The fact that today last 20years or so a movement can come into existance and be detailed by wikipeda, reuters and a hundred other places in mere days should not lead us to conclude that a small quasi-revolutionary Jew would have been well recorded 2000 years ago except in his followers reading material.

    And

    That his nonexistance is proved by absence of unbiased (non biblical) evidence.

    Saying that however I do find it amusing to paralell the firm belief in Jesus as a person with the relegation of Heracles and Gilgamesh (other godlings) to mythology, despite the physical lack of existance external to the theological liturature they are each described in.

    (or as I put this to a teacher in school, Why believe Jesus turned loaves to fishes (using christian theology) and not believing That the children of Lír were turned into swans (using Irish mythology)

    Reply
  • 11. girls2008d  |  September 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    one cup

    Reply
  • 12. dom  |  September 22, 2008 at 12:47 am

    You say you will examine the claims? Your bias is already explosively obvious in your introduction. How then can you examine the claims with such presuppositions?

    Reply
  • 13. dMerritt  |  October 20, 2008 at 8:18 am

    You say, “There is no independent record…”; however, you make it clear that any record that substantiates the claims of Jesus are not “independent”, so your logic is circular. It seems from reading your article that you have decided “by faith” not facts that you will not believe. Jesus has had the single most profound and positive impact on history. What inspires most of the good works around the world like Mercy ships and providing food for the hungry and meeting the needs of the poor? Jesus is not a dead figure you have to read about from 2000 years ago. You can see him in the world today. I challenge you to really seek him… and you will find him.

    Reply
  • 14. jfg  |  November 27, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Julius Ceaser contributed autobiographical writings and was the emperor of rome. Don’t think there is much doubt he was an historical person.

    Yeshua lived a week’s ride inland from the shore in a backwater place where the great majority were illiterates. It’s not that surprising that there is no corroborating historical record. The existence of Herrod, Ciaphus and Pilate is more evidenced.

    I have come to beleive that the single best ‘proof’ that Yeshua was an historical person comes from the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7. Anyone who subscribes to Atheism should take the twenty minutes needed to at least read these three chapters, and then ask themselves, does it seem likely that this is a work of fiction? Although it’s only my opinion, I come away from those chapters not doubting that this was a real person who spoke these words, somewhere, sometime. This is a seperate issue from the divinity and miracles ascribed to Yeshua. I think if you read those chapters you will be less certain in the existence of the man.

    Reply
  • 15. Barry  |  April 13, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Jesus is alive and did walk the earth 2000 years ago. He is the only one who has the power to forgive sins and the authority to give eternal life. He came to the earth to die for each one of us…that is amazing love. Whats more he did rise from the dead (only religious leader to do so) and he is alive right now. I not only belive this, I know him personally as my Lord and Saviour. We’re all heading towards the grave and can do nothing to reverse the power of death, but Jesus can…he defeated death and will grant life to anyone who asks him.

    Reply

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.

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Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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